14. They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan by Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, Alephonsian Deng, and Judy Bernstein
I got an advanced reader’s copy of this book at ALA Midwinter. The story is written by three boys (2 brothers and their cousin) about their experiences during the civil war in Sudan. It of course is full of devastating stories but also amazing stories of survival and providence as these boys become separated and reconnected multiple times over a journey of thousands of miles. The writing is simplistic, which is not surprising given that the authors are young men with little formal education writing in a second language. The forward to the book is written by Judy Bernstein, who serves a mentor to the three young men in America. She alluded to some the adjustments they were having to make in experiencing a whole new way of life in the United States. This is the only part of the story that really concerns their lives once they leave Africa. I would have enjoyed reading more about that, but perhaps that is another book. I give it 7 out of 10.
As an aside this book like The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind talked about how rare and valuable books are in Africa. They are truly prized possessions and something that African children truly need more access to. This book was just another reminder of that, which fits perfectly with the fact that my book club is currently in the process of raising money to support Books for Africa. If you have the means please consider making a donation to one of their projects to help promote literacy and education among African children.